18 Sept 2010 Hiking Grays & Torreys Peaks with Liz, Jenny, and Steve

A few months ago, Liz proposed a hike of Grays to the cadets in our CAP squadron. Sue immediately signed up with Bob, and Steve said "hmmm a 14er" and Jenny joined in at the last minute. No cadets ever signed up, meet time of 4:45am probably turned them all off :-). We carpooled up in one car since space is limited at the trailhead. We left Fort Collins about 5am and got up to the trailhead a little after 7am, and the parking lot was already full. We got the second spot down the road. When we returned at the end of the day, later-arriving folks had lined the road up to about a half-mile downhill. The 3 miles of gravel road was not too badly rutted, a few 2wd cars made it up but the ground clearance and 4wd was nice to have.

We started hiking about 0730. Steve, Sue and Bob made it up Grays in 3:15 which is _wow_ better than the "norm" of 1000' vertical per hour Sue has been striving for all summer. Liz and Jenny were a long ways ahead of us, Liz is a former Eco-Challenge finisher who used to jog up Grays, and Jenny is prepping for Basic Training in the military soon so they're both in great shape.

Congrats to Steve on his first 14er! This was the second time Bob and Sue climbed Grays, but our first time up Torreys.

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  Grays on the left, Torreys on the right. Steve, Liz, Jenny, Sue We're 2 miles up the trail at 12,100 feet but only about 900 feet in elevation up from the trailhead. 2 miles and about 2,200 feet in elevation to go - it's going to get a LOT steeper! Steve and his bananas Steve, Bob and Jenny. We're still in the "flat" part of the trail in Stevens Gulch, this is looking east. Looking north to Kelso Ridge, a more technical way up to Torreys. There were people hiking up that way.

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  Looking west up the trail with Torreys straight ahead (we'll do Grays first). At about 12,800 now, looking north at Kelso Ridge still. From the middle of the picture just a little down-right is what's left of a human-built structure. Zoomed in. Nature has no straight lines. Steve and Bob taking a break, Grays is the massive ridge ahead on the left. Above 13,000 now looking north-east at the line of folks snaking up the trail. Gorgeous clear skies so far.

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  Steve and Bob. Looking north-west to Torreys. Way above treeline on the tundra, Grays on the far right. Trail switchbacks up ahead of us, Liz and Jenny are up there somewhere. Hmmm....

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  Beautiful striations in the rock on Torreys to the north-east. Getting higher, looking north-east. The trailhead is the patch of trees just up-right from center, still in the shade. Most of the way up Grays, looking north-east to Torreys with Steve and Bob just below me (Sue) on the trail. We're above the N/S saddle leading from Grays to Torreys so we must be above 13,700 (saddle is 500' down from the 14,200 peaks) Looking north-east, sun is finally shining on the trailhead (in the trees). Looking south-west (up), getting close to the top!

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  If we have time and energy after we get up Grays, we'll go down this saddle and follow the trail up to Torreys to catch TWO 14ers in one day! Nearly at the top, the terrain above the trees at the trailhead is sun-lit now. It's about 1030am. Only a few feet more, Liz and Jenny are visible waiting for us. But this is zoomed in. Zoomed out, still a few more switchbacks to go. Finally there! Liz in the orange hat, Jenny in the blue. Yes it's cold and windy enough to need a thin layer of hat and gloves.

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  Sue and Steve make it up the last few feet to the top of Grays. Liz and Jenny. Steve and Liz.

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  Steve's first 14er, time to sign the summit log. Jenny, Steve, Liz Sue lunch-time! facebook post time!

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  Steve and Sue start down the trail to the saddle, to attempt Torreys. Liz and Jenny went on ahead. At the saddle. Decision time to head back out or head up Torreys. Steve's up for it! Bob and Sue haven't done Torreys yet.

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  It's a ways up. Liz and Jenny radio in from the top that it's not as windy as Grays and gorgeous. Sue and Steve heading up. This trail is a bit steeper and has more loose scree than Grays, and not as crowded. Woo-hoo top of Torreys! Steve is gazing north-west with Sue barely visible sitting beyond him. Pooped out. Bob, gorgeous panorama.

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  Steve, Sue, Bob on top of Torreys. Looking south-east, Mt Evans and Mt Bierstadt are other 14ers in the area. Lots of folks up here, still clear skies to the west (no storms comning). Looking south to Grays, the trail up from the saddle and the switchbacks up the trail from the east are visible.

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  Looking south-west , Lake Dillon and towns of Dillon/Silverthorne are visible just up from I-70. Steve takes a short snooze on top of Torreys. Back down at the saddle, Bob coming down the trail. Grays is up above us but we're taking a shortcut trail from the saddle back to the Grays trail, we're not going to hike up Grays again. Steve sets off downhill.

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